As Fast As Possible
If you have an AMD graphics card, you should definitely look for AMD FreeSync when buying a new monitor as it doesn’t add any extra cost but can greatly improve the gaming performance.
Let’s cut right to the chase.
This synchronized refresh rate thus eliminates all screen tearing and stuttering without affecting the input lag.
So, you get a more steady FPS (Frames Per Second) rate and thereby a smoother performance, at no additional cost to the monitor.
You may be wondering whether this variable refresh rate technology is alone worth switching from NVIDIA to AMD? Well, that depends.
Is a FreeSync Monitor Worth It?
If you have or plan to get an AMD card and intend on using it for a while, then there’s no question whether you should get a FreeSync monitor, it’s definitely worth it.
Keep in mind that you can also use a FreeSync monitor with an NVIDIA card, you only wouldn’t be able to benefit from the variable refresh rate.
In that scenario, you could buy a FreeSync monitor and then your next GPU upgrade can be from AMD. Alternatively, you could buy a G-SYNC monitor which does the same thing as FreeSync but with NVIDIA cards. However, G-SYNC adds to the price of the display.
So, when is it worth it to switch to G-SYNC or FreeSync?
FreeSync vs G-SYNC
Unlike FreeSync, G-SYNC requires a module to be installed at the back of the monitor. This adds to the cost of the monitor but also allows it to have a wider dynamic refresh rate range whereas some FreeSync monitors have a narrow range inside which the variable refresh rate works.
AMD has addressed this by introducing LFC (Low Framerate Compensation) which doubles the frame rate when your FPS drops below the lower limit of the dynamic range. However, not all FreeSync monitors support LFC. Ideally, you should look for a FreeSync monitor with LFC support if possible.
Additionally, NVIDIA also includes the ULMB (Ultra Low Motion Blur) technology for some G-SYNC monitors. This technology allows the user to enable backlight strobing for the monitor which increases motion clarity, but it can only work at certain fixed refresh rates and not at the same time as G-SYNC.
Moreover, some gaming monitors offer their own proprietary motion blur reduction technology, so you don’t have to rely on G-SYNC for that.
Finally, AMD FreeSync works over both HDMI and DisplayPort depending on the monitor while G-SYNC only works with the DisplayPort.
When Is a G-SYNC Monitor Worth It?
In a nutshell, if you’re looking for a budget setup, getting an AMD card with a FreeSync monitor will give you the best gaming performance for the money since even the cheapest G-SYNC monitor is rather expensive.
Moving on to the mid-range area; This is where the AMD route can save you a lot of money as a certain G-SYNC monitor can be up to $300 more expensive than the basically identical monitor with FreeSync.
Due to the shortage of AMD’s RX Vega cards as well as the lack of AMD’s GPU which could parry NVIDIA’s high-end graphics card, if you want the most impeccable gaming experience, you’d have to opt for one of the faster graphics cards by NVIDIA.
However, since monitors are usually less frequently upgraded than graphics cards, you may want to consider getting a FreeSync monitor with an NVIDIA GPU as you might switch to an AMD card in the future – unless you don’t want or can’t afford to invest in a G-SYNC monitor.
All in all, if you’re on a tight budget, we recommend that you consider getting an AMD FreeSync GPU/FreeSync monitor combo rather than an NVIDIA GPU/monitor with no adaptive-sync or G-SYNC.
Of course, if you want the absolute best gameplay performance without any compromises, you should go for G-SYNC but keep in mind that you will have to pay the premium for it.
Rob is a software engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. He now works full-time on writing for DisplayNinja while coding his own projects on the side.